'GIS Day' brings students, technology together

Graphic Information Services an exciting field for students

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SAN ANTONIO – If you use the GPS on your smartphone, you're using geographic information services -- or GIS -- technology.

Friday saw the annual Alamo Area Geographic Information Systems Day at the Tri-Point Center near downtown, an event aimed at getting highly motivated math and science students interested in the field.

"GIS Day gives us the opportunity to show students this type of math and science usage in real-world applications," said Stephen Garza, with KFW Engineers. "It is an exciting, fun field."

Lanier High School student Madelynne Martinez is a smart girl who loves all things math and science. So when she attended GIS Day, she said it satisfied the future engineer inside her.

"It shows a lot of the technologies today and how the future is going to change too," said Martinez.

Martinez was just one of about 600 students who attended the annual event.

Basically, Garza said, GIS deals with layers, revealing points and locations within an image. The combination delivers information at an ultra-precise level.

"We can have all data for all property at our fingertips to make the best decisions possible," said Garza.

Garza helped organize GIS Day, which brought together 40 different companies that use this type of technology every day. He said GIS has become a powerful tool in land development.

"We know exactly what we want to keep (and) what areas to avoid," he said. "We have a very good understanding of how to develop this land as quickly and effectively as possible."

Lanier High School teacher Brandon Baldwin said he is just glad he can bring his students to such events. He said it shows them how to apply their classroom work to real-world experiences.

"(The students can) do the interaction at the different stations or see some of the different types of machines that they use," Baldwin said. "The kids just enjoy it more."

Friday was the twelfth year for GIS Day. For more information on GIS Day, click here.